Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge

February 12, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

No matter what you are told ahead of time about marriage, it does not matter one bit until you are in it, until you have lived within marriage for some time. Then you begin to understand. It’s sort of like trying every key on a large ring of keys to see which one will open the Door to Life. The one labeled “My spouse will make me happy” doesn’t seem to work. The one called “Happy little home” doesn’t work either. The gnarled one named “Protect yourself” doesn’t fit. Well, I’ll be doggone. There is only one key here that opens the door and it’s this one – “I am here to learn how to love”. Huh. It’s the last key most of us try.

But it opens the door alright, and then we can get on with actually living our lives.

Love & War, p. 197-198

This book is very similar to other books by this pair (e.g. The Sacred Romance, Captivating, Waking the Dead). Couples need to offer strength and beauty to each other. We crave adventure.  The enemy has come to destroy love. We are in an epic spiritual battle. There is a need to inch by inch take back what has been stolen. As is typical, the writing is dramatic and includes references to movies and music (though not as much as some of their other books).

The couple frequently write about events that happened recently in their lives. They switch on and off. John will tell a story and then Stasi will tell her version of the same event. The book is hopeful and the couple is very open about their struggles and the harsh realities of living in a broken world.

This is more of a larger narrative than “how-to” book. However, on page 92 they summarize what they are hoping to get across:

1. Find life in God
2. Deal with your brokenness
3. Learn to shut down the spiritual attacks that come against your marriage.

Whether or not you will like this book will largely depend on whether or not you like the writing style and whether you enjoyed other books by this duo in the past. I thought this was a good book, though I didn’t agree with everything set forth. For example, John writes that friends who have not married or are married without any children are fundamentally selfish (p. 197). I know of plenty of unselfish people who would love to be married and it hasn’t worked out.

I especially liked the sections about insisting that a spouse deal with his or her brokenness. I recall learning my counseling days that if one person in the family has a problem, everybody in the family has a problem. It is not love to allow a spouse to continually engage in behavior that wounds everyone in his or her path. For the sake of the marriage and children, brokenness has to be addressed. This needs to be done. I also enjoyed the parts about what it means love and offer strength to another.

Overall, I found this book honest and enlightening. It gets to the heart and exposes sinful methods of relating. Due to overlap, I recommend it for Christians who haven’t read any of their other books or Christians who absolutely love their other books.

Rating: 5/5 (Gets to the heart of the matter and the heart is a matter of life and death.)

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah. To learn more about or purchase on Amazon, click here.

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